|Núria GüellValor #1, 2012|
|Multiple | Digital print|
|51 x 23 x 1.5 cm |
Edition: 30 copies
Frame of beech wood and glass; Conqueror 240 gsm and Novamat 300 gsm paper
Arts Coming. Contemporary art editions
|Güell’s work is distinguished by her need to generate new alternatives to situations of social conflict in which the abuse of the structures of political and economic power is apparent. In this way she seeks not only to make visible the issue engaged with but also to contribute to a change in the way we relate to one another and add to the sum of decent options open to people from a defence of cultural, political and economic autonomy.|
Value #1 (2012) is a milestone work, key to understanding Güell’s approach to artistic creation, in that it establishes a fundamental axiom in confronting life on the basis of our consciousness of the moment as a way of taking responsibility for the present. Güell regards creation not as an act of aseptic surgery but as a form of social commitment, and this explains her need of actions that require her own personal involvement to be carried out. In this respect the fact of tattooing the phrase El día de mañana (‘the day of tomorrow’) on the sole of her right foot and documenting with a scanner its wearing away as a result of walking on it day after day until in the end only the words día de (‘day of’) are still legible is a clear statement of her personal philosophy of life.
It is worth drawing attention to the creative impulse of this piece: on one hand the need to break free of inherited and culturally transmitted pressure (represented here by the artist’s grandmother) to ‘make sacrifices in order to have and to be something tomorrow’ and on the other hand the realization of this work in parallel with the cancer of her partner’s mother, who never had a chance to break with conventions disguised as social ties. These two processes of erosion taking place in unison — that of the tattoo by friction and that of death as a natural process — make the work a statement of intent, a symbolic act charged with meaning, a necessary move to make way for the rejection and the wiping away of prejudices. ‘A plea not to fall into the trap of replacing freedom with fictitious security, which sets us to working against ourselves and strips us off responsibility for the facts of our existence, a struggle against tolerating the intolerable, since the more we tolerate the more we suffer the pressure exercised on us. A plea to take responsibility for the present, for the day of …, which is the only thing that can engender deviations capable of producing encounters.’ [Güell, 2015]
Güell has defined the methodology that structures her work as LEGAL APPLICATION / DISPLACED MORAL, the process by which she unpacks a legal or moral principle and applies it in the opposite direction, inverting the power relations and managing with this small twist to trigger a questioning of established convention. In some cases she gives this process a more activist nature, by generating resources with which to modify reality, while in others she opts for a more reflective approach. In Value #1 she provides a fundamental and liberating statement on which to construct life and work.
Note: Related to this piece, there is a video off the tattooing.
Isidro López-Aparicio Pérez